public law


Definition of public law

1 : a legislative enactment affecting the public at large
2 : a branch of law concerned with regulating the relations of individuals with the government and the organization and conduct of the government itself — compare private law

Examples of public law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The state’s flagship public law school was then called Boalt Hall. Washington Post, "California voters revisit a fraught history on race with a referendum on the 1990s," 28 Oct. 2020 Coney said her legal interest is in public law, specifically in governmental issues and the rights of citizens. Eva Barkoff | Staff Writer,, "What Amy Coney Barrett told The Times-Picayune when she started clerking for Scalia in 1997," 28 Sep. 2020 According to David Hulme, public law lecturer at the University of KwaZulu Natal School of Law, this interplay between the law and quality of life allows for symbiosis that can bring positive change. Norma Young, Quartz Africa, "What Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought the US could learn from South Africa’s modern constitution," 23 Sep. 2020 Though often used for public law enforcement, many of these weapons have their origins in the military. Washington Post, "‘Nonlethal weapons’ fired at protesters in Hong Kong, Chile and Iraq are having very dangerous — even deadly — effects," 23 Nov. 2019 Columbia University accepted the book as a dissertation and awarded Dr. Smith a PhD in 1964 in the field of public law and government. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Jean Edward Smith, biographer who reassessed presidential reputations, dies at 86," 16 Sep. 2019 Eight months later, Willems himself was on the way out—exiting a role as one of the White House’s lead trade negotiators with China to join law firm Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "Here Are All the 'Best People' That Have Quit Trump's Economic Team," 7 June 2019 Klobuchar’s path was glitterier: Yale undergrad, University of Chicago law school, a stint in corporate law before two terms as Hennepin County Attorney (the biggest public law office in Minnesota), and then her successful Senate bid. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Personable, Popular, Pragmatic: Is Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar the Democrat’s Secret Weapon?," 15 Jan. 2019 Others who have made the switch include a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Brendan Dunn, who joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in May as a partner in its public law and policy practice. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump draws powerful enemy in trade fight: the Koch brothers," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'public law.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of public law

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of public law was in 1531

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Cite this Entry

“Public law.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for public law

public law


Legal Definition of public law

1 : an enactment of a legislature that affects the public at large throughout the entire territory (as a state or nation) which is subject to the jurisdiction of the legislature or within a particular subdivision of its jurisdiction : general law

called also public act, public statute

— compare local law sense 1a
2a : the area of law that deals with the relations of individuals with the state and regulates the organization and conduct of government — compare private law
b : international law regulating the relations among sovereign states or nations as distinguished from private international law

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